Following the successful pilot trip to Tucson, Arizona, Class of 2018 Seniors returned in January. There Scholars worked with a variety of organizations focusing on the diverse populations of Tucson: Latinx immigrants, international refugees, and the members of nearby Native American reservations. Working with two refugee groups (iskashitaa and Owl & Panther), Scholars learned first hand about the refugee crisis as they harvested city fruit trees and produced promotional videos to recount the realities of life by the international border. Scholars had a chance to witness a federal criminal court deal with initial appearances of illegal reentry charges, many facing more then one offense and some as young as 18 years old.
Scholars prepared for this trip with resources and suggestions about the intersections of education, media literacy, race, indigenous rights, refugee status, and how these issues have been affected by the new presidential term.
From 2006 to 2016, Park Scholar seniors have traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana each January to help local organizations rebuild the lower ninth ward, an area greatly affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Park Scholars used their media skills to document the city’s and organizations’ needs while also providing tangible volunteer assistance.